The Forensic Psychology program, taught at Maastricht University gives students the opportunity to learn the applications of psychology associated with the legal system along with issues and problems that arise when psychology is applied. Over the course of 3 weeks in July, students will take part in classes and field trips that cover the most important topics within the field of Forensic Psychology.
The program contains four main themes and incorporates lectures, tutorials, case studies, experiments and discussion. The first topic is eyewitness memory which includes eyewitness identification and children’s false memories. The second topic is interviewing and interrogation during which students lean about police interrogation techniques, deception detection and false confessions. Cognitive biases in the legal context is the third topic and students will explore interpretation and reliability of forensic evidence and the role of biases in expert’s decisions. As the final (fourth) topic, students will learn about the association of mental illness and crime – more specifically the psychopathic mind, the psychology of sex offenders and the effect of sex offender registration laws.
Maastricht’s psychology faculty is world-renowned , and this program is a unique opportunity for Australian psychology students who have an interest in the legal system to experience University life at Maastricht and also gain valuable experience within the field of Forensic Psychology!
Additional Course Information
The Forensic Psychology program welcomes students from the disciplines of Law, Psychology and Criminology. Law students will be required to complete a series of pre-readings before the program commences in order to be familiarised with the fundamental themes and concepts of Psychology. For the greater benefit of the students par-taking in this program, AIM Overseas will endeavour to form an even mix of students across these 3 disciplines.
It should also be highlighted that Forensic Psychology will powerfully incorporate PBL (Positive Behaviour for Learning). PBL is an evidence-based school systems method which supports students in both childhood and senior years of schooling to establish positive social expectations in the community. When implemented, PBL provides a framework for institutions and the community to collectively support the wellbeing of every student and to reduce challenging behaviour.
Topic: Eyewitness Identification
Under this topic we will address factors that could lead to inaccurate identification decisions such as the cross-race bias and problems with the construction and the administration of lineups, such as post-identification feedback
Topic: False Memories
The aim of this topic is to demonstrate how false memories can be instilled and their far reaching consequences in the legal arena.
Topic: Police Interrogations & False Confessions
Students will be introduced to different interrogation techniques and how some of these can lead to false confessions and consequently wrongful convictions. We will investigate police procedures and these can be improved.
Topic: Deception Detection
We will attempt to debunk some of the popular myths about the ability of people to detect deception and we will look at promising methods such as the verbal credibility assessment methods.
Topic: Cognitive Biases in the Legal Arena
With this topic we aim to provide a glimpse of various biases that may undermine the quality of expert witnesses’ and judges’ decisions.
Topic: Bias in Forensic Speech Analysis
Students will learn about the effects of biases and context information on forensic experts’ analyses and interpretation of results and how these can be avoided.
Topic: Mental Illness and Crime
The aim of this topic is to provide an overview of the prevalence and the type of mental illnesses one can encounter in a forensic setting. Additionally, we will examine to what extent mental disorders confer a greater risk of violent behavior.
Topic: Neuroscience and the Law
Therein we will examine why and when neuroscience may be useful to law and the problems with the use of brain scans in the court.
*This program is still under development, more information to come – stay tuned!*
University and Faculty
Maastricht University is a public University in the Netherlands, founded in 1976. In 2013, nearly 16,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 47% of whom were international students. About half of the bachelor’s programs are fully offered in English and most of the master’s and doctoral programs are in English as well. In 2013, Maastricht University was the second Dutch university to be rewarded the ‘Distinctive Quality Feature for Internationalisation’ by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
Find out more about the beautiful city of Maastricht, Maastricht University and the Centre for European Studies below:
Assistant Prof. Anna Sagana
Anna Sagana will be the head academic on this program – she holds a PhD in Legal Psychology from Maastricht University and has experience as a lecturer in Forensic Psychology; Forensic Neuropsychology as well as Interrogation & Interviewing topics at Maastricht University. So far in her career she has published many articles on the optics of eyewitness identification accuracy and choice blindness in a range of Psychology journals including the Journal of Forensic Practice, Applied Cognitive Psychology, Legal and Criminological Psychology and Frontiers in Psychology.
Site Visits and Cultural Activities
There will be site visits, trips and cultural activities scheduled as part of the program and included in the program fee. These are still being finalised for the 2017 intake, however they are likely to include:
- A trip to the Hague and Amsterdam (including the International Criminal Court and walking tour) (weekend)
- A Juvenile Detention facility
- Other activities in and around Maastricht
You will be accommodated at the Maastricht University International Student Guesthouse which is located within walking distance from downtown Maastricht behind the Court of Justice. You will receive a map of the city upon arrival so that you can find your way around easily during the first few days. All participants are encouraged to follow the example of the local students and rent a bike to cycle to classes as it is the fastest and most convenient way to get there (Maastricht is flat so no big uphill to fear!).
In terms of room options, you will be given the option of having your own room or sharing with another AIM Overseas participant. All rooms have WiFi. You will have free access to a tennis and basketball court as well as laundry facilities. Linen is provided, but you will need to bring your own towels.
Option 1) Single room, C building
You will have your own room and will share a basic communal kitchen and bathroom with the people on your floor.
There is also a common area with some couches and a TV, where you can spend time with other students. There is an additional fee.
Option 2) Double room, P building
You will be sharing a spacious twin-share room with another AIM Overseas program participant. Each room has a kitchenette. You will share the bathroom facilities with the people on your floor. There is no common area available in this building.
The Netherlands is a small densely populated country home to about 16.8 million people located in Western Europe. Tradition and innovation intertwine in this country: artistic masterpieces, windmills, tulips and candlelit cafés coexist with groundbreaking architecture, cutting-edge design and phenomenal nightlife.
Geography plays a key role in the Netherlands’ iconic landscapes. More than half the pancake-flat country is below sea level, and 20% has been reclaimed from the sea, making rows of polders (areas of drained land) omnipresent. Uninterrupted North Sea winds have powered windmills since the 13th century, pumping water over the dykes, and milling flour and more. Some two-thirds of the surface is devoted to agriculture, including fields of tulips.
The flat, fabulously scenic landscapes make cycling in the Netherlands a pleasure (headwinds not withstanding). Cycling is an integral part of life and locals live on their fiets (bicycle): more than a quarter of all journeys countrywide are by bike, rising to more than a third in big cities. The canals that run throughout the city are lined with little cafes that act as social hubs for the locals and visitors.
Maastricht, located at the very bottom of the Netherlands, has both Spanish and Roman ruins all around, sophisticated food and drink and lots of bars and cafes. It also holds French and Belgium twists in architecture. The location of Maastricht is crucial as it lies a short distance between the German and Belgium border therefore being an interesting mix of the two countries. Maastricht is the epitome of a student town perfect for travelling to as a student, the locals are bilingual in English and Dutch and are extremely welcoming to all visitors. Maastricht is a warm and energetic city with appeal and allure out of proportion to its size.
Credit and Funding
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Course convenors will not be able approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus, so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive this in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack, along with information about how to apply for credit at your university.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, as well as in your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications for our July 2017 programs are now closed.
We are no longer taking applications for our July 2017 round of programs. Applications for our January 2018 programs will be open on May 22nd.
If you wish to know more, or if you have any questions about our programs please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 9975 7792. You can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
Alternatively, you can register your interest now for a January 2018 or July 2018 program, meaning you’ll receive updates (via email and phone) prior to the application deadline and when applications are open.